Morro Bay cop caught asleep at the wheel

August 25, 2014
Asleep

Morro Bay police officer asleep in his patrol car

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

Shortly after Morro Bay police officers do late night bar checks and roust homeless people they find sleeping in their cars, some then search for a secluded spot to take a nap in their police cruisers, in violation of police policy and city laws.

Sources say Morro Bay police officers have frequently slept in their patrol cars during night shift hours, violating a city ordinance. Morro Bay municipal code prohibits sleeping in vehicles between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., with the exception of in designated areas like a trailer park.

On multiple occasions, CalCoastNews has observed officers sleeping behind Pedersen Realty and Property Management on Main Street in Morro Bay. In some instances, the officers would sleep there for three or more hours at a time.

Late last month, Jeffery Specht, a critic of the Morro Bay Police Department, filmed an officer asleep in his patrol car in the parking lot behind Pedersen Realty. Specht shot the footage shortly after 3 a.m. on July 29.

On film, Specht woke the officer and asked him why he had been sleeping.

“I have to rest,” the officer said.

CalCoastNews asked Morro Bay Commander Bryan Millard to identify the officer in the recording. Millard refused to name the officer, citing personnel issues as an exemption from public disclosure requirements. Nevertheless, multiple officers have been observed sleeping in their police cruisers in the same area.

Millard did say, though, that police department policy prohibits officers from sleeping in their patrol cars.

In recent years, the police department has stepped up its enforcement of the sleeping in vehicles ban in Morro Bay. Officers have awoken individuals sleeping in their cars and have given them tickets and tried to force them out of town, homeless people have said.

The police department has even created city signs stating that it is unlawful to sleep in vehicles at night. Police created the signs as part of a community policing and environmental planning initiative, according to an April 2014 department newsletter.

City staff then erected the signs, which cite the Morro Bay Municipal Code, and placed them in locations where homeless people have been known to sleep at night.

Since Specht filmed the officer asleep in his patrol car, police have not returned to that location at night, sources say.

CalCoastNews would like your help identifying the officer in the video. If you have any information pertaining to the identity of this officer or the on-the-job sleeping habits of area patrolmen, please email tips@calcoastnews.com.

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jacksquat2014

I’d like to voice my opinion on this matter. All though I agree and disagree with some of the comments thus far this is simply my opinion of dealings with this particular officer.


I’ve known this officer for approximately 5 years now and have had MANY contacts with him in that time frame. Mostly positive but also some negative on the account of my teenagers who needed a talk. Through my experiences with him I can honestly say he is 100% professional in his job and is well respected within the community. I heard recently he suffered a tragic loss, any of us who have children would be absolutely devastated if it happened to them and within 3 weeks (what I’m told) of his loss this officer was back at work. Which from what I’m told was very close to the day of this incident. About 2 years ago now my wife was home alone and my infant daughter stop breathing. Before the fire department arrived this officer was first on scene and saved my daughter’s life. I’m forever grateful for this particular officer and what he’s done for our city. Through social media I’ve learned for his birthday he organized a softball tournament to raise toys for the less unfortunate during Christmas and has been doing so for the past 6 years. We all like to criticize police when they make mistakes but I can assure you this man has done more good than harm. Do your research before you publicly attempt to badger a good man. And for the record things aren’t always what they seem.


panflash

Jacksquat- thank you for your observations. You made some good points. But, while that might explain his behavior, it doesn’t excuse it.


Again, while police officers are on duty, the taxpayers are paying them to be awake and patrolling. This is not funny- what if the guy with that camera in the middle of night hidden behind a building completely out of sight was, instead, some cop-hater carrying a gun instead of a camera?


If for no other reason, for the officer’s own safety, he should be reprimanded. And, if an officer is not emotionally stable enough for on-street patrol duty, he should be assigned to desk duty or placed on leave until he is ready to safely do his job again. And that might indicate that there has been inadequate supervision by the Police Chief.


All around, this needs to be reviewed by the city manager once he takes office, or by the city council now.


jacksquat2014

Panflash-


I respect your opinion and you are right, it could have been someone with a

gun instead of a camera, but it wasn’t. We all pay taxes, but nobody honestly gives a crap where it goes until something like this happens. I think we all know what low pay police officers earn for risking their lives everyday and I wouldn’t do it! Yes, if he was sleeping, he shouldn’t have been, but he could have just been resting his eyes

for a minute and unfortunately, this video doesn’t prove for certain

he was asleep.


Its unknown what action the department took in reference to his emotional standing. Hopefully they made sure he was ready for duty, but if we lost our kids, would we

ever be ready?


I think we should point out the lies told by the camera man. He told KSBY

that he and a friend were driving around trying to find officers ticketing the homeless,but during the video he told the officer that he was delivering newspapers. He’s a

newspaper delivery driver that stumbled on an opportunity to try and power his

campaign for mayor. If this guy is running for mayor, I hope he has more then just

newspaper delivery boy in his employment background!


LameCommenter

Apathy said “The officer was caught in a SEVERE dereliction of duty”.


Well said. You nailed it, apathy. All the “he saved my daughters life” and fluff talk is BS. They take a whopper of property tax cash out of every homeowner, business and renters pocketbook, while sleeping at $ 50+ plus an hour? This reminds me of them doing NOTHING about my family’s nightmare of thugs daily shaking our sleep chamber with removed factory mufflers on motorcycles.


Get used to it, apathy. This gentleman should be disciplined right up to, but short of, DISCHARGE; not be fired but everything in the book short of it, but like the biker thugs, police supervisors and city council will CHOOSE to do nothing MEANINGFULl at all.


rickholliday

Rick Holliday to jacksquat2014; Police officers make good money and get medical, dental and paid vacations! I think what we should point out here is that Jeff does have a job delivering newspapers. In his delivery duties he spotted (for several weeks) officers sleeping in their cars. I am not running for Mayor, I do not deliver newspapers and I have seen Morro Bay police officers sleeping at this location before, the very reason the video was made. When officers arrest, cite or remove anyone from sleeping in a vehicle in Morro Bay and then they do the same thing it sends the wrong message. You should thank Jeff for bringing this to the public eye. YOU may not care about how the police dept. bills for their services but others do! Others with jobs, who don’t get to sleep on them!


nurse1

holliday…..get a life for gods sake!


nurse1

holliday…..get a life for gods sake!


rickholliday

Rick Holliday to ApathyWillKillYou: Nicely said!


rickholliday

Rick Holliday to jacksuat2014: Every dog has his day. I’m very glad that this officer saved your daughter’s life and you should be thankful to him, that being said…..Even Hitler was nice to puppies and small children but that does not take away from the crimes he committed! Officer Stuart has committed crimes against the citizens of Morro Bay, failed to preform his job duties and should be fired from the Morro Bay Police Dept. immediately, after the FORMAL INVESTIGATION of course! A private investigator named Jim Gardiner (ex-San Luis Obispo Chief of Police) was hired and met with many persons to review videos and evidence against the Morro Bay Police Dept. Mr. Gardiner is just about done with his investigation and it should be in the hands of the new city manager by Friday! If you think things are bad in Morro Bay now, just wait. Morro Bay’s corruption is going to make King City’s look like a girl scout meeting!


LAH

Break or Not, MBPD has posted all over MB, “It is illegal to sleep in your vehicle” , during certain hours. This officer was sleeping on the job in his car during those vital hours. In the least he should receive a violation ticket. Cops can’t be above the laws they post, creates a bad precedence don’t you think?

I do find the guy who took this video very brave!!! I don;t think I would ever approach a cop car knowing (he has weapons) on a sneak attack!


Pelican1

They must have watched the movie “Police Academy” as part of their training.


BeenThereDoneThat

I love his line………………I have to rest. Yea a lot of us usually feel the same way the last few hours of the day. What do we do? WE FINISH WORK GO HOME AND SLEEP!!! I am sick and tired of being fleeced by Gov.t worker types and we should feel sorry for them and all the perks they get? Do your job Barney Fife.


wineguyjc

City of SLO Employee or past posting on City time.


indigo1955

No-he CANNOT sleep in his car if the ordinance says “no sleeping during your car” during those hours! Good for the person who took the picture, and I say let’s keep up the work…there are quite a few police officers I have seen doing things that are quite out of line. And, thanks to my new iPhone….well….hehehe….


slomike

Sounds a bit like the Warner’s wolf and sheepdog cartoon characters showing up for their shift. “Mornin’ Jeff.” “Mornin’ Officer X”.


Gordo

My source says the officer is a Gene Stuart.


slomike

Police work is sometimes described as “hours of sheer boredom interrupted by moments of stark terror.” I’ll bet a call on his radio would awaken an actual “good guy with a gun”. All the same, aren’t we lucky that CCN/Tribune deliverers never sleep.


Jorge Estrada

I’ll give this guy some credit for taking a chance. I know a person that went into a bear cave during the winter and took a picture of the sleeping bear family, another stupid thing to do.


smiley

I would go along with “boredom” as with a lot of jobs but “stark terror” not likely in Mayberry RFD or Morro Bay. If this officer was asleep on duty in the armed forces he would be charged with dereliction of duty and there would be serious consequences. This guy was getting paid to protect the lives and property of Morro Bay citizens and if he was sleeping on his shift the chief should take appropriate action.


slophocles

Was he on break? If so, what’s the big deal? Sleep, eat, read, quickie at home – it’s your time. If he wasn’t, however, he’s got some ‘splainin to do.